The Eight Stages of Trial
Once a jury has been selected and sworn, the trial proceeds. There are usually eight stages of trial in civil cases. They are:
- The judge gives the jury some preliminary instructions and then the lawyers present opening statements. Sometimes the opening statements on behalf of one or more parties are omitted.
- Plaintiff calls witnesses and produces evidence to prove its case.
- Defendant may call witnesses and produce evidence to disprove the plaintiff's case and to prove the defendant's claims.
- Plaintiff may call rebuttal witnesses to disprove what was said by the defendant's witnesses.
- Closing arguments are made by the lawyer on each side.
- The judge instructs or charges the jury as to the law.
- The jury retires to deliberate.
- The jury reaches its verdict and returns to the courtroom where the verdict is announced.